Asking your boss for a promotion is a bit like asking someone out on a date. It’s scary, requires an admirable amount of bravery, but is incredibly worth it once your knees stop trembling.
If you’ve been in either one of those situations, you might be able to relate to these side-effects: your ‘keeping it cool’ voice starts to lose all credibility, avoiding eye contact becomes an Olympic sport and suddenly putting yourself in a situation where the outcome might be a soul-crushing ‘no’ seems utterly stupid. Trust me, it’s definitely not. Because if you’ve been thinking about a promotion, chances are that you rightfully deserve one.
It will come at no surprise that there is no magic ‘do it all’ formula but as with many potentially life-altering situations, preparation is key. So here are 5 tips to help make sure you’re walking into your boss’ office oozing a confidence that would make Obama himself proud. And in the words of our dear friends at Nike: ‘Just do it.’
Just like you wouldn’t bid on a house or book an Airbnb without checking out the other fish in the sea, make sure you do a little digging of your own. Google shouldn’t be your only friend as these things tend to vary depending on which part of the world you’re in, your age group and the size of the company. A start-up does not have the same financial legs that an established multinational has. Be realistic in what you’re asking. Always aim high but leave the slam dunks to the NBA, shall we?
If you’ve caught yourself daydreaming about being crowned with a new job title, stop and ask yourself why. Do you feel like your return on investment is not in balance? Or maybe you are ready for a new challenge and feel like you’ve outgrown your current role? Either way, it’s vital to know how your work benefits the company and the people around you.
This one is a bit like rocket science as there is no such thing as perfect timing when asking for a raise unless you have developed a sixth sense and always know when your boss is having ‘one of those days’. Of course, there are other ways to see if the timing is right. From analysing how well the company is doing to checking your boss’ calendar, make sure you don’t barge in before an important stakeholders meeting or worse, his/her lunch break. Generally speaking, people are more relaxed right before and straight after their holiday so it could be wise to catch them before their bi-annual Barbados getaway.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from watching Mad Men, it’s that selling an idea requires some serious skills. Of course, asking for a promotion is different from pitching Heinz ketchup but they have more in common than one might think. You and Don Draper both want the same thing, to have the people leaving the room wanting what you have just ‘sold them’. Now, you are not exactly not selling yourself but you are making yourself invaluable.
5. Bury, don’t bin
Not taking no for an answer is usually an unwritten rule for this great thing called ambition or independence. And in 99.99% of given scenarios, I would advise you to do exactly that. Yet that 0.01% is reserved for when your boss declines your expertly researched, perfectly timed and Steve Jobs worthy pitched proposal as if he’s saying no to the sugar in his coffee. And even though your confidence has taken a rocket-sized blow, being the bigger person is a forte that will reap its fruit over time. But just before you tumble into a never-ending circle of self-pity, consider all the reasons they might have had to say no. Always make sure you subtly ask them if there are ways to strengthen your position in the company. You are there to make them believe that you’re here for the long run and will always go that extra mile.
So now that you have the tools to convince your boss that you’re irreplaceable and an essential part of the company, you’re one step closer to handing out a fresh stack of business cards.
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